i on Romance: Tattoos and You

Posted April 18th, 2014 by in Blog, Features, ionR / 26 comments

i on Romance: Tattoos and You

So many books feature a tattooed hero or heroine. Of those, I’d say about two thirds show the said character on the cover. Sometimes the character is considered a “bad” boy or girl, and sometimes not. Either way, the tattoo says something about them.


I know some people have strong feelings about tattoos. Personally, they used to turn me off. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to appreciate good tattoos as an art form. Of course they’ve gotten more sophisticated over the years as well.

I pose several questions for you today:

First of all, how do you like a cover featuring a tattooed hero or heroine? Do you consider it artistic? Does it immediately make you think they’re dangerous? Will it make you read the synopsis, or will it turn you off?

Secondly how do you feel if a book centers around a tattoo artist? There seems to be a lot of those lately. Does it turn you off? Do you stay away from those at all costs? Or are you attracted to them?

Let us know in the comments section! We want to hear your opinions!




26 Responses to “i on Romance: Tattoos and You”

  1. Tammy Y

    Harlequin books feature almost no tattoos. Every now and then there is one – mainly on a Blaze cover. I prefer no tattoos.

  2. Amy Rickman

    I’ve read 5 of the books whose covers are posted and enjoyed all of them, it doesn’t matter either way for me tattoos or no I’ll still read. Yes, I have read a book because it mentioned tattoo artist.

  3. bn100

    usually prefer a tattooed hero not heroine on a cover; don’t like when tattoos cover the whole body
    will only read the blurb if I like the cover or author

    haven’t read any tattoo artist books yet

    • KarenL (@Aleveria)

      I don’t mind either way, although a tattooed heroine is usually paranormal, which I’m picky about. And it has to be good enough to read by the synopsis as usual, or it’s a no-go.

  4. orchid7

    I personally like them. Tattoos done right will simply draw attention to the male perfection underneath.
    That said, I feel that the same idea that applies to other things also applies to tattoos. There CAN be too much of a good thing. And there are classy looking ones, and tacky ones. Just like a spandex skirt looks much better on one body type than on another, so do tattoos.
    If a guy has a tastefully done tattoo, and the body to carry it off, then it just enhances his sexiness to me. It does give him that rough edged, bad boy appeal. If the guy is sloppy or doesn’t care for himself, then you can put as many tattoos as you want on him, and he will still be sloppy- he’ll just look like a clown instead of a sexy bad boy. So… The key to it for me is the package underneath the tattoo first. The tattoo is just the icing on an already delicious cake! πŸ˜‰

  5. Michele H

    I personally like and am attracted to covers with well done tattoos on heroes or heroines. Depending on the type of tattoo, it can add an element of danger, power, beauty or mystery to the character. So far I’ve really enjoyed two series featuring tattoo artists: Hard Ink by Laura Kaye and Marked Men by Jay Crownover. Yum!! πŸ˜‰

  6. Sara HJ

    My biggest beef with covers with H/h with Tattoos is that more often than not it is used to portray certain characteristics such as dark, tough, badass, biker, bad boy/girl. Does having a Tattoo automatically make you a badass? Think Not! I don’t care for the association that Tattoos currently carry in romantic fiction.

    • KarenL (@Aleveria)

      Well, I think the covers are trying to get away from that tattoo = bad boy/girl thing. If you notice, I included a couple of covers where the couple looks very caring/loving. I’ve felt the same way, but if they manage to use it in different ways, I think it could go more mainstream. I get what you mean though.

  7. Natalija

    I have to agree with Sara that in contemporary fiction tattoos equal bad boys/girls. Since they are not the kind of characters I like to read about, I almost always disregard books that feature inked arms or torsos.

  8. Christine Kochanowski

    I am attracted to covers with tattoos but I have only read one about a tattoo artist. I don’t like that they use tattoos to show bad/rough characteristics as many different types of people have tattoos for different reasons. In a perfect world there would be no stereo typing. Either way I will continue to read the backs of books to give them a chance.

    • KarenL (@Aleveria)

      Yup. Again, I hope they can get away from that, and use them as a type of art on the cover. Although it’s not necessary. I enjoy them if they’re nice looking, just as I enjoy them in real life if they’re attractive.

  9. Kathleen Nichols

    A hero or heroine with tattoos can add dimension to a character. My daughter has a number of tattoos and like you my feelings towards tattoos have changed over the years, but there are those who still think of them in a bad light. I’ve a read few that had a tattoo artist in them and they were just as good as any other romance story.

    • KarenL (@Aleveria)

      Same here. I used to really have a bias against them, but I think they can be gorgeous now. If done right, in real life *and* in the media, they can be used to express many things.

  10. infinitieh

    I don’t really care one way or the other about tattoos on the cover. It definitely can be artistic. As for real life, no tats, please. Whenever I see someone with a tattoo, I can’t help but imagine how the tat will look when the person is in their 80s.

  11. marcyshuler

    I’ve read three of the posted books and own another two. I don’t mind tasteful tattoos, but I’d rather see them on a hero than a heroine. I also don’t see the covers and automatically think badass in a negative way. Many military personnel also have tattoos.

    I’ve read a few books featuring tattoo artists that I really liked: Laura Kaye’s ‘Hard Ink’ series and SATISFACTION by Sarah Mayberry.

    I don’t have any tattoos and neither does my hubby, but I can appreciate the artistry of them when they’re done well and mean something to the character.

    • KarenL (@Aleveria)

      You’ve pretty much described my same thoughts. Although I’ve been mulling over getting one over the past year. It’s a big investment, both monetarily and I guess “bodily”, so I want to make absolutely sure it’s what I want to do.

      Also, once I get one, it means hubs gets the green light. He’s wanted one forever and I’ve always said no. Now that I’ve mellowed, he’s gonna jump at the chance. πŸ™‚

  12. Monique D

    I don’t really like them, but since it’s books we’re talking about, I don’t really care one way or the other. It’s the author’s choice after all.

  13. Leanna

    I like a guy with a nice tasteful tattoo that has meaning to him. I don’t like a full sleeve of tattoos on a guy. I don’t think that I would buy or not buy a book simply because someone on the cover had a tattoo. A good friend of mine is a tattoo artist and they put a lot of work into them. Every guy I have ever dated has had a tattoo and you would never guess that by looking at me.

    • KarenL (@Aleveria)

      I think a tattoo *has* to have meaning or it’s just a waste of ink/time/money. I wouldn’t even try to guess that about you though, If you saw me you’d have no idea I was even *thinking* of getting a tattoo – I wouldn’t dream of stereotyping. πŸ™‚